Fury had ordered an assault on the Chitauri base in Micronesia, and helicarriers were currently being cleared for take off, whilst the men were gathered and briefed. This left the team with little to do but wait.
Xander, deciding that he’d best introduce himself to his teammates, went off in search of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
“Hey,” he greeted, when he found them waiting patiently near one of the helicarriers, only to be cut off by Pietro.
“What do you want?” He asked, his tone indicating boredom.
“I don’t know,” Xander admitted with a shrug, “Company?”
“We don’t want yours,” Wanda replied.
“Aw come on,” Xander pushed, “It’s not like I’ve got anyone else to talk to around here. Clint’s on the phone with his girlfriend, so not fair by the way, Thor’s off in Asgard, or Valhalla, or wherever the hell it is he goes, Jan’s having a check up and I’m not sure where Tony and Natasha are.”
“And this concerns us, how?” Pietro asked, eyebrow raised in scorn.
“Fine,” Xander dismissed, turning to leave, “Just thought it’d be interesting to talk to another speedster.”
Xander stopped when he heard the unmistakable sound of a derisive snort behind him, followed by a feminine sigh.
“What was that?” Xander asked, turning back to face the platinum blond.
“Pietro,” his sister said warningly.
“You’re fast,” Pietro admitted, ignoring Wanda, “Compared to the humans, I’ll give you that, but compared to me you’re still little more than molasses.”
“You wanna test that?” Xander asked threateningly.
“Oh for the love of...” Wanda sighed again, trailing off as she muttered about testosterone.
Pietro smirked, “Is that a challenge?”
“Race around the world?”
Quicksilver chuckled, “Simplicity itself. I’ll return victorious before you even cross the first ocean.”
“Of course,” Pietro smiled, turning to Wanda, “Sister dear, if you would be so kind as to judge?”
“Hold your horses,” Fury’s voice entered the room, “We’re on a clock and we’re not wasting time on this.”
“He said I was slow!” Xander said accusingly, pointing to the older speedster.
“I don’t doubt it,” Fury replied, “But you two aren’t racing until after Quicksilver gets promoted to the public team.”
“Why not?” Pietro asked, eyebrow arched.
Fury smiled, “ A race around the world between the two fastest men on earth? Can you not see the marketable potential there?”
Xander could not believe what he was hearing.
“Besides,” Fury added, as he turned to leave, “I want the time to place bets.”
Xander regained himself, suddenly curious, “On who?”
He didn’t get his answer for many months, when Fury treated the team to a celebratory meal with his winnings.
Several hours later, after landing on an island in Micronesia...
“What do you mean no one’s here?”
“Exactly what I said, Fury,” Thor replied clearly, “You asked me to teleport here and give reconnaissance. The island is completely deserted, has been for weeks from the look of it. The intel from the Psi Division was completely inaccurate.”
“Yeah? Well I think I trust their word a little more than yours, Goldilocks,” Fury returned, before nodding to Xander, “Surge, go take a look.”
Xander rolled his eyes, before dissolving into a blur of blue as he made for the nearest compound and began a thorough search for inhabitants.
He completely scouted the entire island in less than a minute, returning to report his findings, however begrudgingly, to the one-eyed commander.
“Thor was right,” Xander explained, jerking a thumb back towards the compound, “Not a single living thing that we didn’t bring with us.”
“He’s right,” Iron Man agreed, “Thermals aren’t picking up anything either. Your shape-shifters aren’t here.”
“Does that mean we get to head home?” Xander asked halfheartedly, “Because I could really go for a burger right about now.”
“You don’t eat,” Stark noted.
“I’ve been meaning to do some experimentation with my new blender,” was all Xander said in return.
“This is some kind of joke,” Fury muttered irritatedly, “Heads are gonna roll for this. Do you have any idea how much all this costs? We’re talking twenty thousand troops on over time and expenses here!”
“So... what do you want us to do?” Cap asked.
“Hell, I don’t know,” Fury sighed, “Just fan out and do a comprehensive search for anything that Thunder and Lightning might’ve missed.”
“‘Thunder and Lightning’,” Xander mused, “I kind of like it. Hey, Thor, you wanna do a buddy movie when all this is over?”
With Fury’s orders and the vast majority of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents canvassing the immediate area, Xander jumped in the backseat of one of the jeeps and tried to nap.
He was comfortable there, with Fury himself waiting in the front seat, and Barton manning the machine gun mounted on the back, until an indecipherable burst of static in his earpiece jolted him into alertness.
“What was that?” Xander asked, somewhat groggily.
“Hawkeye?” Fury questioned.
“All I’m getting’s some kind of static, General...”
And deep in the depths of the compound, in one of the darker corners that Thor had not checked and that Xander had missed in their surveys, a squad of agents came across a timepiece at 00:06 and counting down. Without the time for anything more, the squad leader sent out a warning to everyone else on the island, before vainly attempting to clear the blast radius.
Hours later, Xander ran through the devastated ruins of the Micronesian island, vainly searching for surviving S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Even Fury knew that it was a wasted effort. Without the protection of Iron Man’s force field, everyone outside of the five hundred meter radius was disintegrated instantaneously.
“You ready to go, kid?” Fury asked, catching Xander between sprints, “The remaining agents have finished scavenging the ruined helicarriers for usable equipment and we’ve got a priority one alert situation emerging.”
“What’s happening?” Xander asked absently.
“The Chitauri have moved on to a full-scale invasion coming in at Phoenix, Arizona,” he replied, “Thor’s zapping us there in three.”
“Great,” Xander said, still dazed, and looking out over the devastated island.
“You okay?” Fury queried.
“Yeah, I’m... no,” Xander admitted, “How many just died in that explosion? Ten thousand? Fifteen? And nothing’s left of them but ash.”
“It’s different when there’s nothing left to bury, huh?”
Xander nodded, thinking back to the McNally’s, forced to bury an empty casket when they realized that their son was never coming home.
“How do you deal?” He asked.
“I prioritize,” Fury answered simply, “Right now we’ve got an invasion to stop and a world to save. Other people need us right now and dwelling on those who are beyond our help won’t do anyone any good.”
Xander nodded reluctantly.
“Let’s go,” Fury said, “The world’s waiting for the Ultimates.”
Within moments of returning to the groups, Thor raised Mjölnir high, and before any of the assembled masses knew it the sky was filled with extraterrestrial crafts bearing down upon them, and God only knows how many Chitauri in the guise of U.S. soldiers surrounding them.
“Thor? Tony?” Steve ordered, “Lead the charge.”
As the God of Thunder and Iron Man took to the skies, Fury gave out his own orders.
“Everybody else form a perimeter and lay down some cover fire! The Captain’s on the move here, people!”
“Roger that, General,” Natasha replied, hefting her machine gun and carving a path for the super soldier.
Under Fury’s orders Xander followed Black Widow inside the Kingman Air Force base. Well, actually, in the interest of time management, he carried her there from Thor’s chosen entry point.
Once inside, he obeyed Widow’s every order. Mostly because, when a squad of armed extraterrestrial Nazis started firing on him, he happened to agree with her decision to take the bastards down.
Xander shot forward before the first bullet left the chamber, punching the first of the Chitauri less than a second later, and the remaining four after that, only to come to an unfortunate realization.
The Chitauri may have taken the human form, but they did not share all of the human weaknesses. Natasha would later theorise that it was due to their shapeshifting capabilities, but blunt force trauma did little but knock them back, and absolutely nothing to put them down for good.
As Xander searched for a way to remedy this situation, moving away from the skirmish in the process, Black Widow shot two through the head, reducing their brains to mince, and Xander found glass that should only be broken in case of emergency.
He believed that an alien invasion qualified.
“Here’s Johnny!!” Xander yelled as he returned, brandishing a fire axe and decapitating one of the remaining aliens with a practiced swing.
Natasha blew the brains out of the fourth, as Xander lodged his axe into the fifth’s skull.
Xander turned around to face the source of the voice, recognizing it, “Jan-- Holy God you’re naked!!”
His hand darted upwards, covering his eyes as he heard Widow snort.
“No time,” she scoffed, tugging a flak jacket from one of the downed soldiers, tossing it to Jan, who had been suffering from a serious case of nudity for some time now, along with one of their weapons. “You know how to use that?”
Jan covered herself, before hefting the firearm experimentally, “Point and shoot, right?”
“And watch out for the recoil,” Natasha nodded, before turning to Xander, face still buried in his hand, “Surge quit hiding and open your eyes. We’re in a hurry here.”
“Foxtrot Three to Ground Teams: Stark’s down and completely immobilized. Medical Support and Technical Teams required ASAP! Over.”
Xander jerked at the latest in a long list of unexpected voice in his earpiece, and Natasha immediately turned to him.
“Go,” she ordered, “Wasp and I have this covered.”
“Are you kidding me? Stark needs medics and techies, what do you want me to do?”
“If he needs technical teams then he’ll need a recharge,” Widow told him irritably, “So either they cart him to the nearest power plant or we send the walking generator.”
Activating her comm-link, she continued, “Black Widow to Foxtrot Three: Send coordinates. Surge is on his way. Over.”
“Foxtrot Three to Black Widow: Understood. Sending coordinates. Over.”
“Get going and leave the bloody axe,” Natasha ordered without missing a beat.
Xander glowered, but handed the fire axe over to Jan, “Take care of that. I’ll need it when I get back.”
A moment later he was gone.
It took him ten seconds to navigate his way out of the base, and forty more to race clear across Phoenix.
Locating Stark took him barely a second. All he had to do was follow the trail of destruction, after all, and the immobilised Iron Man was found.
“Stark?” Xander asked, kneeling down next to him as the medics arrived, “You alright, Tony?”
“I can’t go back up there,” Stark muttered, “I thought I could handle it, but it’s just too big.”
“Tony? I need you to listen to me,” Xander said carefully, as the medics wiped vomit from the inside of the man’s visor and checked him for a possible concussion, “Are you with me?”
“I’m not as smart as they all think I am, kid,” Stark continued obliviously, “Hell, nobody’s as smart as they all seem to think I am.”
“Tony, I’m about to charge up your suit,” Xander informed him, “Okay?”
“No, not okay!” Tony replied, “Don’t you hear what I’m saying? I’m telling you that I can’t do this!!”
Xander waved the medics away, bending carefully to meet the billionaire in the eye, “Well suck it up, man. How the hell do you think I feel? Cap, Hawkeye, Widow... they’re all trained for this kind of stuff, and Thor’s the freaking God of Thunder! You and me, though? We’re idiots who pretty much volunteered for this kinda crap, and it’s too damn late to back out now just because you’re scared of losing.”
“And besides,” Xander continued lightly, “If the world ends then you’ll never get the chance to give that redhead the tour of Stark Industries.”
Tony stared up at the teenager above him, covered in cuts from shrapnel that he’d been unable to dodge and splattered in the blood of Chitauri, and came to a decision. If the kid was still fighting, and hadn’t run off at the speed of light like a sane person, then what right did he have to quit?
Plus, he really wanted to meet this redhead.
“Okay,” he agreed, “Hook me up. But if anything happens to me then you’ve got a hundred and fifty thousand jobless Stark employees on your conscience.”
Xander grinned, his hands reaching out to lay on Stark’s armored chest plate, and began to direct his energy flow through his arms and into the Iron Man armor, allowing electricity to pass into Stark’s power cells.
Soon Xander felt his energy reserves begin to dwindle as the Stark armor took in more energy than he had estimated, but he continued until given the sign to stop.
“That’s enough, kid,” Tony told him, his visor snapping down over his face once more and his armor now glowing blue from within with power.
“You...” Xander huffed, sweat pouring down his face from exertion, “Sure?”
Stark, mobile again with his armor returned to power, pulled himself to his feet, before dragging the drained Xander up along with him.
“Well I’m doing a hell of a lot better than you.”
“Drag me...” Xander said between breaths, “To a power line.”
“Are you sure?” Tony asked, already moving towards the nearest streetlight.
“Wanna test out... some comic book... physics.”
Once close enough, Xander reached out a hand and laid it upon the smooth metal of the lamppost. Casting out his senses and feeling the familiar thrum of electricity within, he sought to connect with it, but found that he could not direct the energy through the casing of the streetlight.
Stark, seeing his problem, tore open the access panel, and Xander thrust his hand inside, grabbing ahold of a fistful of wires that one should generally not touch without a death wish.
Instantly Xander felt the electricity coursing into him as he tapped into the local power grid, and he felt his fatigue evaporate as tired muscles filled with strength, and his breathing steady.
After several moments of contact, he tore himself away, staggering at the energy influx he had just received.
“You okay, kid?” Tony asked carefully, seeing Xander’s body almost vibrating in place.
Xander grinned, “Screw caffeine. That
was a pick me up.”
“I’ll take your word on that one,” Stark replied, “Now... I believe we have a job to do.”
Tony returned to the battle in the skies, whilst Xander raced back to the Wasp and Widow at the Air Force Base, waving to a passing Pietro on his way.
It took him awhile, maybe thirty seconds, for him to locate them again.
“No time to talk, just give me back my axe,” Xander ordered Jan as he solidified in their midst.
Stunned, she responded, turning away from her console to hand him the weapon, and he disappeared before Widow could ask what he was doing.
Xander returned ten seconds later, his axe covered in a fresh coating of Chitauri ooze, and offered a halfhearted explanation, “A squad was about to round the corner.”
“Whatever,” Natasha dismissed, directing his attention towards the console, where Jan was evidently stumped,
“Surge, your file says you have experience translating esoteric languages. Any chance whatsoever that you read Chitauri?”
Xander took one look at the screen and blinked at the characters so strange he doubted Giles could translate it with a month and a dictionary.
“Are you kidding me?” He asked, “The only alien language I ever learned was Klingon!”
“Worth a shot,” Widow hissed under her breathe, “You making any progress Jan?”
“None at all,” Wasp replied, “I’m a molecular biologist, not a technician.”
“Great,” Natasha growled, furiously rubbing her temples and noting that they had less than ten minutes to detonation.
“What about Stark?” Xander asked, “The guy knows machines better than anybody, maybe he can bypass the language thing?”
“It’s worth a shot,” Natasha agreed, activating her comm-link, “Black Widow to Iron Man: Get your armored ass down here, ASAP. Over.”
“Iron Man to Black Widow: Can’t do it, Tasha. Thor and I are the only ones providing air-support and I can’t abandon my post.”
“For the love of God, Tony, the world’s at stake here. Leave air support to the Air Force!!”
Xander met Stark outside the base a minute later and hurriedly directed him to Natasha, Jan, and the doomsday device.
“Can’t the kid just drain the power source?” Tony asked.
“I probably could,” Xander admitted, “But that could just as easily cause the whole thing to blow up early rather than disable it.”
“Got it,” Tony accepted, before reaching down and pulling about three tons worth of doomsday device out of the floor, and then beginning the arduous process of carefully dragging it out into the open. “Iron Man to Thor: I need your help getting rid of the alien’s reset button.”
“Can’t you disarm it?” Jan asked.
“Wouldn’t even know where to start,” Stark replied simply, as he continued to pull the bomb closer to the exit.
“Aren’t you even going to try?”
“First rule of business: manage time efficiently.”
Stark broke several walls and shoved the device onto the heavy machinery express elevator, Natasha and Xander swiftly climbing aboard behind him as Jan sent them moving towards the surface.
“Tony, before you do this,” Natasha began, “I just wanted to say goodbye, and let you know that I’ll always treasure that special moment we shared in the men’s room back at the base. That pre-battle relief really meant a lot to me and...”
“Wait, how come he got to give her pre-battle stress relief?” Xander asked quietly, “I would’ve gladly volunteered!”
Jan didn’t even spare him a glance as she whacked him sharply on the shoulder.
“Ow,” he grunted, “Right, sorry, not the time, please continue.”
“And I swear to you that you shall be honored for this sacrifice you’re about to make,” Natasha continued without missing a beat.
“Uh, what sacrifice?” Tony asked, as the elevator made its way towards the surface.
“For flying this thing into space, of course!” Widow replied, “For giving up your life for the rest of us, you brave, brave, man.”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous,” Stark waved her off dismissively, “Do you really think that’s why I’m dragging this thing outside?”
“But I thought you had a plan?” Jan asked nervously, as the elevator finally reached the surface.
“I do have a plan,” Stark agreed, “I want Thor to use that big honking hammer he’s always bragging about and teleport this thing off world. Maybe dump it in some mystic realm or something.”
“Ooh,” Xander’s eyes widened with realization, and he found himself nodding his agreement, “I like that plan. That’s a good plan.”
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Jan muttered.
“Are you serious? This was your big plan?” Natasha yelled, “You want to take the bomb and dump it in Narnia?!!”
“Ah, relax, Tasha. We’re talking about the Norse God of Thunder, here.”
“No, we’re not!” Widow returned, “We are talking about a former mental patient. Thor’s insane! He’s a delusional schizophrenic!!”
“Oh, ye of little faith,” Thor himself announced.
“This is insane,” Natasha continued, as Thor walked up to the device and calmly raised Mjölnir, lightning striking down unto the god as he and the weapon disappeared.
“I don’t believe this,” Natasha went on, “I cannot believe that our lives are in the hands of an ex-psychotic.”
“With that kind of power?” Xander disagreed, “I’ve seen a lot of things, and very few could possibly match up to him, so either he’s a god, or he might as well be.”
“So he can teleport a couple of tons,” Widow continued, completely ignoring Xander’s input, “Where’d he take it? Nebraska? Canada? We’re still all going to die when it goes off!!”
“Nobody’s going to die, Natasha,” Thor smiled, surprising everyone with his return, “I took the Chitauri weapon and deposited it in the endless wastelands of Nastrond. The worst we’re going to feel here is a minor ripple in the dimensional Earth-space and I doubt it’ll last more than a fraction of a second.”
“Okay,” Natasha sighed, arms raised in surrender, “I’m done. If we’ve only got a few seconds left I absolutely refuse to spend it bickering with a...”
She was cut off as that ripple in the dimensional Earth-space Thor had discussed passed through them.
“You were saying, Natasha?” Tony asked smugly.
“But... but...” Widow sputtered.
“Told you,” Xander grinned, jerking his head towards their hammer wielding teammate, “God, or damn close.”
“What are you waiting for?” Fury’s voice sounded out from a megaphone as a helicopter descended off to the side, “The base is being evacuated, they’re gonna flatten this place in T-minus ten!”
“Oh my God...” Jan breathed, stopping as she stepped onto the helicopter.
“What?” Natasha asked.
“Is that Bruce Banner up there?”
All eyes turned upwards and, sure enough, up in the sky was a familiar green figure taking out two motherships at once.
“Who let the Hulk out?” Xander asked, slightly dazed at the thought of running up against the green behemoth again.
“Congratulations, gentlemen,” Thor directed at Fury, “You’ve just let loose the one thing worse than an alien invasion. Well done.”
“Oh, shut up and credit us with a little intelligence, will ya?” Fury sighed, “Hawkeye, you standing where Cap told you to stand?”
“Good,” he continued, having heard Clint’s confirmation over the comm-link. “I don’t care about your moment, Barton. As soon as he’s in your sights, fire Banner’s antidote.”
Hours later, after the last of the spacecraft where officially destroyed and the soldiers began to relax, Xander and Natasha caught the mutant twins celebrating their victory.
“What are you talking about, Quicksilver?” Widow asked, “You two weren’t even there for the fight.”
“Actually,” Pietro answered politely, “If you slow down any satellite pictures you may have of the attack, I’m sure you’ll find that Wanda and I...”
“Oh great,” Natasha sighed, “Here we go again.”
“Actually,” Xander coughed awkwardly, “He’s not lying. I saw him a few times, running interference for the soldiers.”
“You could see me?” Pietro asked, mildly surprised.
Xander nodded the affirmative.
“Huh,” the European Speedster mused, “You’re faster then I thought then.”
Pietro smirked at the Black Widow, who looked between Surge and Quicksilver, searching for any signs of deception, before sighing and walking off to talk to Clint and Jan.
Xander and the twins waited less than a moment before they made to follow her, managing to catch the tail end of the conversation.
“We were up against spaceships here,” Clint said in wonder, “Fighting aliens who were in league with the Nazis, for God’s sake. It doesn’t get anymore black and white than this.”
“You know what I think this means?” Jan asked.
“I think that we’re officially superheroes now.”
Xander could do nothing but grin genuinely at the thought.
The next day, Xander was once again dressed in his custom made suit as the Ultimates attended a celebratory shindig at the White House, with only his hair and his shades identifying him as Surge.
Whilst there, he dealt with an array of politicians, most of whom wanted him to offer his public support to their various causes and campaigns, before he finally gave up on having a genuine conversation and began to ignore everyone who came near him, instead sitting himself down at the kids’ table, where he gladly spent the rest of the evening entertaining the toddlers, children and pre-teens with electrical sparks and exaggerated tales of his own daring adventures.
Now that was fun. Especially when one seven year old girl, who did not quite understand that her father being the President did not mean that she was royalty, tried to knight him.
But the best part was when Barton’s brood told their father that they wanted to be just like Surge when they grew up. Hawkeye nearly killed him on the spot.